Some Manchester United players asked for day off after defeat by Fulham

Manchester United

Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford during Saturday’s disappointing defeat by Fulham.

A number of Manchester United players complained to coaching staff that they wanted Sunday off after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Fulham despite Erik ten Hag’s squad usually going in after a match day for warm-downs and video analysis.

The request caused surprise given the insipid display and it being part of the manager’s normal routine. It was rejected by staff, who reminded the players of their commitments, with Ten Hag thought to be unaware.

In November the Guardian revealed that a section of United’s players believed the team’s poor start was down to Ten Hag overworking the squad in pre-season. They complained of beginning the campaign feeling as tired as when they finished the previous one.

The defeat by Fulham ended a run of five consecutive victories, United’s best sequence of an uneven campaign. Ten Hag is under particular scrutiny owing to Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s 27.7% buy-in and the team being sixth, eight points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa.

The Ineos owner is conducting a structural review. He has made significant moves by hiring Omar Berrada to become the CEO and moving to take Dan Ashworth from Newcastle to replace John Murtough to lead the football department. It is expected Murtough will be offered a new role and will consider whether to accept it.

Ten Hag claimed before Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at Nottingham Forest that Jamie Carragher was biased when assessing his management after the pundit’s comments on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.

Carragher claimed United’s defending at the start of the Fulham game was unlike any he had seen. Ten Hag said: “First of all, some analysts are very objective in their comments [and offer] very good advice; some are very subjective. Jamie Carragher from the first moment has criticised and now he wants to make his point.”

Ten Hag did agree, though, with Carragher. “Probably in the first half an hour, yeah, he had a point. Fulham in their midfield set up a little bit surprising and then we have to find the solutions.”